Gotham FC secured their first National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Championship title with a 2-1 victory over OL Reign, thanks to a winning goal from Spanish striker Esther Gonzalez. The match also marked the final career game for veteran Megan Rapinoe, but her retirement party was cut short due to an injury. Lynn Williams opened the scoring for Gotham, who had a remarkable postseason run after finishing at the bottom of the table the previous year.
Despite the anticipation surrounding Rapinoe’s last match, she had to exit the game early due to an injury. Rose Lavelle’s solo effort in the 29th minute got Reign on the scoreboard, but they couldn’t convert their second-half chances. Gotham defender Ali Krieger, who will retire after the match, expressed pride in their team’s commitment and belief in their abilities.
The game started on a somber note as Rapinoe suffered an injury in the third minute, and Krieger rushed to embrace her former teammate. Midge Purce provided an excellent cross to Williams, who scored Gotham’s opening goal in the 24th minute. Lavelle equalized for Reign five minutes later with a left-footed strike.
Gotham had two opportunities denied in the 38th minute, hitting the post and crossbar in quick succession. Reign had a chance to take the lead but was caught offside. Just before halftime, Gonzalez scored a sublime header from Purce’s corner, extending Gotham’s lead. The match had a dramatic ending as Gotham’s goalkeeper received a red card, and Nealy Martin had to step in as the makeshift goalkeeper. However, Reign’s efforts to equalize were unsuccessful, and Gotham celebrated their victory. Purce was named the match’s MVP for her two assists.
Krieger expressed her excitement about the team’s experience and the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere and each other’s company one last time. She was thrilled to bring home the championship trophy.
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